One of the greatest challenges that I think an individual can face during a struggle is a loss of independence, a sudden need to rely on someone else, or to have to ask for help, especially when you have felt you were in control of your life prior to that point. I know that rings true with me as I journey through life with PD. As my handwriting has grown smaller and my voice patterns have changed and my movements have slowed, by far, tying my shoes and buttoning my shirts, all own my own and like a big boy, are two of the things I miss the most. Now this is not an everyday occurrence, but when it does happen, and I need help, I might as well be attempting to pilot a space shuttle or something. Like the picture, I feel like that T-rex trying to tie his shoes because the obstacle is so great; that one simple activity that I have performed tens of thousands of times in my life suddenly becomes impossible, and is horribly out of reach of my capabilities at that time.
Believe me, anger and frustration aren’t the only emotions you feel. Often, the feelings grow into sadness or helplessness or even a state of wondering if you are actually useful. Yep, those are generally kind of rough starts to my day. It breaks your heart inside, and you just feel like there is a giant foot stepping on your very soul like a bug. It is during those times I do draw on my faith, and one of my favorite verses from when my dad passed was Psalm 34:1, “The Lord draws near to those who are brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” I know I have family and friends who support me in many ways during the rough times, but I also realize that my soul, the warrior spirit inside of me, is never alone. I realize that a broken clock is right twice a day and that broken crayons still color. I realize that my hands may be full with handling PD, but my heart is much more full of encouragement and love and the desire to positively impact someone else’s life.
Each of us, if we truly take the time to realize it, have a huge power within us to first fight through a struggle that we may be facing, but an ever greater power to come along side someone and help them with their struggle. There is a Jewish proverb that says “I ask not for a lighter burden, but broader shoulders.” Any struggle you face today simply develops the strength you will need for tomorrow, and one of the greatest gifts you can offer is to use that strength to help with another’s burden. To me, that is what truly being our best is about: the ability to care enough for another, placing our own struggle aside, and helping them through their struggle. The personal growth we experience and the strength we gain from that will help our own struggles become lighter, and will develop a tremendous power to overcome what we face.
I read a short poem once that said, “Some days are better, some days are worse. Look for the blessing, instead of the curse. Be positive, stay strong, and get enough rest; you can’t do it all, but you can do your best.” No matter the struggle, there will be good days and bad days, but they will all contain blessings. Your best may not be much on some of those bad days, but as long as it is your best, it will always be enough. And always during the sad parts of the struggle look for the positive. You have great power inside of you, so remember the old Confucius saying “With great power comes great electric bill.” He really didn’t say that, but even though a part of you may be broken, broken crayons still really do color, and leave behind beautiful and lasting images.